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07/10/2018
A genetic study of Kibbutzim in Israel
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Kibbutzim in Israel form an ideal natural experiment for studying the genetic basis of cardiovascular diseases, due to their relative homogeneous diet and lifestyle and close-knit community structure. In the early 1990s, a research team from the School of Public Health conducted a comprehensive study of cardiometabolic risk factors in Israeli Kibbutzim. Recent advances in genomic technologies allowed a research team (Drs. Shai Carmi and Hagit Hochner, Prof. Yechiel Friedlander, and PhD student Einat Granot-Hershkovitz) to map 320,000 genetic markers in 901 individuals. The results were published in the European Journal of Human Genetics last August.
The team detected high levels of genetic similarity between Ashkenazi Kibbutzim members, which suggested a dramatic reduction in the Ashkenazi population size during a “founder event” about 700 years ago. Focusing on risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases, the team detected an association between an Ashkenazi-specific mutation at the MSRA gene and obesity. The extensive genetic and phenotypic profiles will serve as a unique resource for researchers and will continue to pave the way towards personalized medicine.
Link to the paper at European Journal of Human Genetics
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